* 1840 Paris
† 1926 Giverny
Claude Monet was born in Paris on February 14, 1840. The family moves to Le Havre around 1845. As a young man he begins to draw caricatures, which fall into the hands of the painter Eugène Boudin, who then asks Monet to work with him. Boudin is one of the first En plein air painters and a precursor of Impressionism. Also encouraged by Boudin, Claude Monet goes to Paris in 1859. However, he does not apply at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, as would have been his family's wish, but continues drawing caricatures and attends the Académie Suisse, where he meets Camille Pissarro. As of 1862 Monet works in the studio of Charles Gleyre, among his students are Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley with whom Monet becomes good friends. He spends some time in Chailly-en-Bière, near Barbizon, turning again to En plein air painting. In 1863 Claude Monet visits the Salon des Refusés, where Edouard Manet celebrates a controversial success with his painting "Das Frühstück im Freien" (Breakfast Outdoors).
As of 1866 both Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir attain a new style that is completely obliged to the object's descriptive color impression. Other artists join them, for example Gustave Caillebotte, Frédéric Bazille, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro and more.
During the French-German War Monet flees to London where he sees works of William Turner that impress him a lot. He gets to know the Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in London, who had also fled the war. Durand-Ruel buys a few paintings from Monet in 1871. As of 1872 he lives in Argenteuil - in extreme poverty, as his family refuses to support him financially.
The first exhibition of the impressionists takes place in the studio of the photographer Nadar, mainly with works of artists that had been turned down by the official Salon exhibitions. Claude exhibits his painting "Impression, soleil levant", from which the new style's nickname "Impressionism" originates.
The art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel is the first to acknowledge the work's artistic value, which is why he buys and exhibits them. The second impressionist exhibition takes place in his gallery in the Rue le Peletier no. 11 in 1876.
As of 1883 Claude Monet's financial situation improves, he rents a house in Giverny. Seven years later he buys the house. The garden around his house in Giverny, with luscious flowers, a Japanese footbridge and a lily pond become the subject of works made in the last 30 years of his life. The series of "Nymphéas" (water lily pictures) is made as of 1903. Monet goes on several journeys to London and Venice. His eye problem gets worse and worse as of 1908 and his vision is strongly impaired. Claude Monet withdraws more and more, however, he continues to work up until the last moment.
Claude Monet dies in Giverny on December 6, 1926.